• Tram McDooley

How to Tell If You’re in an Unrequited Love Relationship with Emily Dickinson

Updated: Jul 1

Maybe it was love at first bite, like pizza. Or maybe it took forever to develop, like a daguerrotype. Either way, you fell hard for Emily Dickinson, famous American poet-recluse from the 1800s. You were sure she did too, because look:

"I heard a Fly buzz – when I died –

The Stillness in the Room

Was like the Stillness in the Air –

Between the Heaves of Storm –"

Those lines are as awesome as somebody rolling a piano through a window just so it will crash into the sea, which Emily Dickinson loved to do from her bedroom overlooking the sea. Legend has it, she ruined ten pianos that way. #Soulmates!

Slow down, you piece of trash. Before you get hurt by someone dead again, ask yourself: is your relationship with Emily Dickinson as reciprocal as you'd hoped? Is she dead? Read on to find out!

Answer Honestly (Don't Cheat!):

  • When you're hanging out with her friends, does Emily Dickinson ever look you in the eye and say, “I love you”?

  • Are your conversations ever about anything?

  • Does she talk about sleeping with other people, like Col. Thomas Wentworth Higginson (pictured below)?

  • Do your family and friends wonder why you spend so much time hanging out in the Dickinson family plot in West Cemetery on Triangle Street in Amherst, Massachusetts?

  • Does she hold your hand in public and let you tell her about your job?

  • When you’re having a bad day, does she drop everything and rush to your side, or do you feel like you're constantly formally requesting her presence in a series of polite letters to the past?

  • Do you argue a lot? Does she ever “win” by covering herself in earth and not saying anything?

  • Does she apply makeup in front of you?

  • Has Emily Dickinson ever told you (in person, not in a book) “I cannot live with you – It would be Life – And Life is over there”?

  • When you show each other your childhood photos, do hers always look like paintings?

Did Your Love Stood a Loaded Gun?

By now, you should have a better sense of whether you and Emily Dickinson are a couple—or not.

Some might think the answers are more complicated than the questions make them seem, but realistically, if you couldn't respond yes or no to each one right away, then dating Emily Dickinson probably isn't a safe bet. (Don't take our word for it, though—ask her!)

#EmilyDickinson #Amherst #NewEngland #death #love #work #toil #thegrave #snakes #butterflies


Love you, buddy.

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